Iloilo: Dinagyang 2017

Dinagyang 2017

Spell lucky! We actually didn't think that the day we'll arrive at Iloilo is also the day they celebrate Dinagyang! It was complete coincidence but who are we to complain? We really had fun! Plus this is all our first times to celebrate festivals like this. Well, we all know that Sinulog is celebrated every January but who've thought we'll stumble with Dinagyang! 

For my non-Filipino readers, Dinagyang festival is a religious and cultural festival at the province of Iloilo Philippines in honor of Sto. Nino. Well you see, Philippines is a Catholic country and Filipinos celebrate different festivals to honor saints. Two of the most known religious festival is the Sinulog of Cebu and Dinagyang of Iloilo. And since we love celebrating, we also do have festivals of different kinds like festival of flowers (Penagbenga of Baguio) and many other stuff. The festivals alone are good reasons to visit Philippines. You will be greeted with colorful decorations and warm smiles of people (Because we're hospitable like that). :) 

Pope John Paul II Tower Bacolod
Pope John Paul II Tower

On the second day of our Bacolod-Iloilo-Guimaras tour, we woke up early and went to Pope John Paul II tower. In our planned itinerary, before we go to the ferry terminal bound for Iloilo, we should be able to go to Pope John Paul II tower and Bacolod Baywalk. However, we didn't know that Baywalk is close during mornings so we had no choice but to go to Pope John Paul II tower alone and admire the view on its viewing deck. 

Pope John Paul II Tower is an important landmark for the people of Bacolod. It also plays an important role in the history of Bacolod because this 7 storey building is built to give honor to the late pope's visit in Bacolod. The tower has many memorabilia from when the pope visited Bacolod. One of which you can see is the papal chair the pope used in his visit. 

Entrance is only P20. On the roof top, you will see a 360 degrees view of the surroundings. We went there early in the morning so aside from the view, we also get to enjoy the fresh breeze of the air. We just admired the view and had pictures. Then before going to BREDCO port to depart for Iloilo, we had breakfast and pass time because we're still early due to the fact that weren't able to go to Baywalk.

Pope John Paul II Tower Bacolod

Pope John Paul II Tower Bacolod

Pope John Paul II Tower Bacolod
The view from the viewing deck

In the BREDCO port, we first bought our tickets going back to Bacolod from Iloilo so we wouldn't have problems if tickets got sold out. We already bought our ferry tickets to Iloilo prior to the trip because we thought there might be a lot of passengers due to the Dinagyang festivities. We were supposed to depart at 10:35 but the ferry is late and our time travel to Iloilo was also kinda longer than expected so we arrived at around past 1. 

Dinagyang 2017

Dinagyang 2017

Dinagyang 2017

Dinagyang 2017
Dinagyang 2017
Performers at the Ati Competition

Actually, one of the best part of Dinagyang is the Ati Competition or the Ati Street dance competition wherein various groups compete wearing their ati-atihan costume. Too bad for us, the competition starts early in the morning and so we weren't able to watch it. Nonetheless though upon arriving, we could feel that there's still a lot of activities to see.

Before going to the city center to immerse ourselves in the culture and party, we first had our filling bowl of the famous Netong's La Paz Batchoy. They say you haven't been to Iloilo if you didn't try this staple food of theirs. Actually, I could eat the batchoy all day. <3 Netong's have branches throughout Iloilo but the ones we tried is inside La Paz market. And this pretty much is the best example of "eat with the locals!" lol. All the waiting we had for the ferry is super worth it because of the batchoy. At least that's how I want to see it. 

But then again, if you're not the type who samples local food in a carinderia type of restaurant, then this is not for you. Too bad you won't be able to taste this famous batchoy. The seating capacity inside if I'm not mistaken can cater 30 people. And don't worry, it is air conditioned. *wink wink* I don't have any objections with the price because for me it's really worth it. Btw, I might be a little bias on this because personally, I do love noodles. And to taste batchoy and the noodles is like a whole new experience to me. :)

Netong's Original Special La Paz Batchoy

Netong's Original Special La Paz Batchoy
The preparation

Netong's Original Special La Paz Batchoy
Just by looking at it makes me hungry. :p~~

Netong's Original Special La Paz Batchoy

And right after satisfying our stomachs with our scrumptious late lunch.. it's time to go to the city center to experience Dinagyang. Everywhere is like a party. Party sounds in every street corner that no matter how far you walk, you wouldn't feel tired because of how festive the surrounding and feeling is. And well.. everyone is walking. There are lots of street foods.. balloons.. souvenirs, concerts here and there. Of course our get up wouldn't be complete if we don't have our own head piece and face paint. 

I haven't experienced any festivals prior to this so I can't really compare but you know, all I can say is this festival stays true to its theme. It's already a known fact to most of us that festivals are being taken for granted to sell illegal substance. Sometimes, if not always, some people use this kind of festivals as an excuse to engage in sexual intercourse with people whom they just met. But with Dinagyang, even though there are people drinking in the streets, I don't see people having malicious intent. They are just having fun and trying to make the most of the festival because come next day.. the city is back to normal again. 

Dinagyang 2017

Dinagyang 2017
Getting lost in the city

Dinagyang 2017

Dinagyang 2017

Dinagyang 2017

Dinagyang 2017

Dinagyang 2017

Dinagyang 2017

After touring the city, we went back to the hotel to rest first then we had dinner at Tatoy's Manokan. It's quite far and since most of the streets are closed due to the activities, we had no choice but to walk before hailing a jeepney. Tatoy's is a Filipino restaurant that specializes in grilled chicken. They have in door and al fresco dining. In fairness to the food, everything we ate is yummy and filling. They also serve oysters for P70/big cup! Aside from the home cooked meals we tried, they also serve homemade ice cream for dessert which if you ask me is just so-so. Nothing special at all.

Tatoy's Manokan

Tatoy's Manokan

Right after dinner, we went back to the capitol to see if we can still roam around. The city is alive but we're really tired from all that walking so we went back to the hotel and retire for the night.
We had so many things planned out for our visit in Iloilo. However, since it's Dinagyang, most of the places we planned to see are close. So we just opt to enjoy the festival itself rather than tour around. I'm looking forward to go back to next year's Dinagyang because it is its 50th anniversary and I expect it to bigger and more fun.

We weren't able to see the places we planned to see but it's alright. We still enjoyed watching the locals and we had fun waking and touring the city center.

Here's our supposed to be itinerary:
6:00 - 7:00 :       Wake up, get ready
7:00 - 8:30:        Breakfast
8:30 - 9:30 :       Pope John Paul Tower, Baywalk
9:30 - 10:00 :     Go to BREDCO PORT
10:00 - 10:35 :   wait
10:35 - 11:35 :   Travel to Iloilo
11:35 - 11:50 :   Alight boat, get ready
11:50 - 12:20 :   Go to Hotel/inn/Checkin 
12:20 - 1:00 :     settle down, get ready
1:00 - 2:00 :       Lunch at Netong's - Aunthentic La Paz Batchoy (La Paz Public Market)
2:00 - 6:00 :       Iloilo city tour
                            - Museo Iloilo (closed during Sunday, can be skipped)
                            - Calle Real (establishments)
                            - Roberto's Siopao - meryenda
                            - Plaza Libertad
                            - Old City Hall
                            - Sto Nino
                            - Iloilo Masonic Temple
                            - Molo Church
                            - Panaderia de Molo
6:00 - 7:30 :      Dinner at Bauhinia Filipino Cuisine
7:30 - 9:30 :      Free Time
9:30 onwards:   Back to hotel/sleep

Actually, even though we weren't able to go to Museo Iloilo that day (because it's Dinagyang and it's close every Sunday), we were able to squeeze it in our last day. From Guimaras, we went back to Iloilo then before we went back to Bacolod via OceanJet ferry, we squeeze Museo Iloilo in for that day with all our heavy bags and pasalubong on hand. Lol! 

Well, Museo Iloilo is just a single storey building. But even if it is just a single storey museum, it showcases its Ilonggo pride through the exhibit. They also feature an Ilonggo artist every once in a while to show every tourist how talented Ilonggo's are. During our visit, the featured artist is a local that's carving sculptures. all of which are carved intricately. And this might be a little embarrassing but this is where I first saw a mickey mouse money up close. I was amazed! haha!

If you're wondering where we stayed in Iloilo, we stayed at Urban Inn near the La Paz market. It was the hype of Dinagyang so the prices are really high. And this is the only place we saw that can cater to all 6 of us since most rooms are already booked. The inn is just so-so. But I really like the interiors in the hall way. As for the room, the room given to us was not really nice but we had no choice. It's one night so I guess it's alright. All's well that end's well. :)

Museo Iloilo

Museo Iloilo

So there. This pretty sums up our Iloilo tour. And actually.. I will be coming back to Iloilo this March because I'll visit Isla de Gigantes next. So maybe I can squeeze in some of  the places we weren't able to visit. I can't wait to eat La Paz Batchoy again! <3


This post is part of our Bacolod - Iloilo - Guimaras Tour. If you liked this post, you might also want to check this post out:

BACOLOD



CONVERSATION

11 comments:

  1. Another city I want to visit is Iloilo! I have been to Bacolod but havent visited this city yet. I love that your trip coincided with Dinagyang. I mean who doesnt want those types of treat right, especially those who love to travel? I noticed that the ferry is quite spacious. I was always curious how big the ferry is for inter-province itineraries as I kinda have a bit of fear of sea travels hehe. Looks like you had fun.

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  2. Uhhhhhh you are so blessed to have participated in Dinagyang. I planned to go there during the feast but I had other priorities haha That view from the deck is stunning. I wonder how high that was.

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  3. That sounds like a great trip. My family is Catholic, so I'd be interested to see the Pope John Paul II Tower. I would especially want to see the Papal Chair. That view is amazing too!

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  4. I've never experienced the Dinagyang festival before, but it does look like a lot of fun. But what really caught my attention here is the La Paz Batchoy! Yum! I've never had authentic La Paz Batchoy before so this is something I'd like to try. I'd also want to see how it is prepared. :)

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  5. This is fun! Philippines Festivals like this is on my bucketlist and i hope i get the time tick each one of it soonest! Ive never been to Iloilo yet and this city seems to be a very nice one to visit. Glad you were able to include your itinerary here, this is very helpful for future reference :)

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  6. You are so lucky to have so many beautiful celebrations of saints. In my country, they are done only inside churches. I would love to see a celebration like the one you talk about, it looks like a proper carnival with people having fun instead of praying in a closed church (lol). The food in the market looks amazing. When I travel I like to go and eat in the market as well, with the locals. That's a sure place to find the best local food.

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  7. Your post has got me craving for Batchoy and Crispy Pata at 2am! Haha! Anyway, I never knew there's such fun activities to try at Ilo ilo. All I know about it is the Dinagyang Festival and their Batchoy but that's about it. On a completely different note, what cam are you using? Love your photos! <3

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  8. Oh wow, what a programme! So many impressions, I love the colourful costumes and paintings. The whole day and post screams loud 'Happiness'. And the weather was apparently on your side, A perfect day :) I love your photos, they will make great memories once!

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  9. You're lucky to experience Dinagyang Festival without even planning it. Most people would really visit just to experience the festival and have fun with the locals. La Paz Batchoy is something that my best friend is always mumbling about. She was studying in Ilo-ilo during our college yrs. Every vacation, we shared stories and this batchoy is always one of the highlights.

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  10. You're lucky to experience Dinagyang Festival without even planning it. Most people would really visit just to experience the festival and have fun with the locals. La Paz Batchoy is something that my best friend is always mumbling about. She was studying in Ilo-ilo during our college yrs. Every vacation, we shared stories and this batchoy is always one of the highlights.

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  11. Dinagyang is one of the most festive celebrations in the country. Someday, I would love to witness it too, with my own two eyes. I love fiestas and this one is definitely a must-see.

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